Letter From Rhys - Week # 20 - Roller Coaster New Year's
[Mom’s note: Since Rhys chatted via video with the family on Christmas, he did not write a letter last week. He was able to clarify some details for us, however. People in the Dominican Republic generally get married in a church, the problem is that church weddings are not recognized by the government and so they cannot be baptized until they are legally married. Many times, this is just a matter of filling out the paperwork and paying a rather large sum of money. Some difficulties arise because of Birth Certificate issues, especially if they were born in Haiti (this is fairly common).
He would also like to let everyone know if you’d like to send him a care package, he’d love things like Peanut Butter, easily prepared convenience foods (don’t count on him having a microwave), snacks like trail mix or jerky, etc. The US address where boxes can be sent can be found on the left sidebar of the main page of this blog. The USPS “If it fits – it ships” boxes are great and very economical. Please note that he will need to pay $2 per pound to receive any packages.]
Feliz Lunes from the tropical land of the Republica Dominicana,
This Past week as a been a very dramatic week. This Past Monday, I had the wonderful opportunity to video Chat with my family! They’re doing fantastic! Thanks for asking!
Also, one of our investigators had his baby on Monday which was super exciting! She was tiny, only about 4 or 5 pounds, but perfectly healthy!
On Wednesday, we had the chance to go to the temple as a mission. That was pretty cool, too. It was my first time going through in Spanish, which was interesting but at the same time very awesome! After the temple session, we got to enjoy lunch in the temple cafateria. Afterwards I was going to go to the store on the temple grounds to get a new set of Spanish scriptures, but the president made an announcement that we were unable to go to the store that day. Sad day... on the other hand, I still have my personal money in the event I am in dire need of funds, which is really not an issue.
On Thursday and Friday, Elder Portillo and I were trying really hard to get a family married and baptized this past Saturday and with all the faith we could muster. Also, I was able to meet the aunt of one of the members in the ward. I don’t remember her name, but she’s from New Jersey and only speaks English and Creole. It was really cool, we were able to teach her briefly about the Book of Mormon and the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. The next day, we were able to give her a Book of Mormon in English with a whole bunch of scriptures she could read concerning the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was super cool and she was so happy to listen to us.
It’s funny, because one of the first things she said to us is that when she sees us (missionaries) approaching her in the street, she runs away from them. Well, after the message she promised to never run away again. Actually, she sought out the church when she got back, too, which is super awesome!
Sorry, got side tracked… back to this family we were trying to marry. We labored with all diligence and faith, however, to no avail, we didn’t accomplish our goal to marry them this week.
On Saturday, we decided to visit a whole bunch of members and recent converts to try and make sure that they receive the good word as much as the next man.
Sunday. New Year’s Eve. The only time of year where you see dozens of people drinking their guts out at 9 or 10 a.m. until 9 or 10 p.m. the next day... Because of this, we had to be back in our apartment by 8:00 instead of 9:00 yesterday and today. Today, with it being P-day and we don’t have any citas or appointments today, we will not be proselyting.
Anyway, something very interesting and sad happened yesterday [Sunday]. Yesterday morning, we called Hermano Rafael, who just had his baby girl the week before, to invite him and his family to church. Well, in the midst of the conversation, Rafael had told us that his 5 day old baby girl died the night before. This was a surprise to us because we had seen her the Thursday previous and she was perfectly healthy.
That Sunday Afternoon, we went with them to the funeral service and before the 1st councilor of the Bishopric dedicated the grave, I was asked to give a spiritual thought. I basically shared my knowledge and testimony of the wonderful Plan of Salvation that our Father in Heaven has created for us. In this time of sadness, I am not sure if our investigator, Rafael, heard us because of the sorrow in his heart for his lovely daughter, but I know that the Spirit was there to comfort everyone who was present. I will also admit that in these moments, I did cry... a lot...
It’s so sad to see death take a child so quickly like that, but I know that she only died because she had a purpose to fulfill and her being born to die a few days later was her purpose. I feel that this event was really a blessing in disguise for this family. My heart tells me that the Lord used this little girl to help motivate our family to make and keep the covenants of baptism and be sealed in the temple as an eternal family. This way, they can experience eternal joy with the little girl they loved so much.
This seems like a sad story, but really, it’s a happy one. This Family, is very close to taking the steps necessary to have eternal peace and joy in this life and the life to come. The Lord comforts us in time of trail and a lot of times he brings us low so he can lift us higher.
This is my Testimony and without a doubt in my mind the Lord takes care of all of his children. It doesn’t matter who they are, what they do, or where they come from.
Well, my faithful followers, this is where the roller coaster stops for today! Remember, after we apply the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives, then we really achieve true happiness and freedom in this life and the next!
That’s all guys! See you next week!
Going forth with the vision of Christ and an Eye of faith,
Elder Rhys Wheeler
P.S. Mom! Thanks for taking care of all my typos for me! You have no idea how much it helps!